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car news

Those who know and love cars are always on the lookout for the latest stories about them. Real car enthusiasts can determine what’s a truly big story, and what’s marketing fluff that’s trying to pass for news. We’ll look at two big car stories ripped from the headlines, and what you should know about them.


If you live in certain parts of the US, this car maker seems to be on everyone’s lips. The lucky few who have had the pleasure to drive them (or even sit in them) could reasonably describe the experience as seeing into the future. That’s how innovative this car has managed to be in an age where that word has all but lost its meaning. Elon Musk may not be the only person who’s implementing autonomous vehicle technology into his cars, but he is managing to appeal to some of the most demanding buyers on the market, like those who have learned the benefits of driving for the TLC.

When the Model 3 hit the market last year, even the most optimistic employee at Tesla was likely blown away by the response. People who ordered the car months ago won’t even get to test drive it until this summer. They might not get to take one home until potentially next year, especially considering Tesla has not been able to keep up with its forecasted numbers. Production wasn’t necessarily meant to accommodate the 400,000 pre-orders Tesla saw, which means that they’re very much under the gun to get everything finished on time. Some say that this could be their downfall when it comes to future sales, because it will take a while for Tesla to figure out the best way to meet demand. However, it’s likely that Tesla will just go through an adjustment period before smoothing out the rest of their processes.



And speaking of technology, Apple’s introduction to the autonomous driving market should not surprise anyone, but it may surprise people they waited so late. Instead of letting Tesla be the iPhone of cars, it looks like Apple wants their own name at the top instead. While other tech giants like Google may have already had a head start, the iPhone developers are certainly no slouch when it comes to gaining the upper hand in the public eye. Apple doesn’t just look at what customers want today, they look ahead to how customers will feel when the product debuts. By aiming to fulfill needs that customers may not have known they even had, the company manages to stay fresh regardless of how crowded the market is.

Apple is notoriously close with their money, meaning the investments they do make speak volumes about what they picture the future to be. Regardless of how ubiquitous Apple is, they haven’t had a lot in the way of breakthrough products as of late. The iPad was really the last thing that attracted mass numbers to try something completely new. As the company struggles to fill the shoes of the inimitable Jobs, they’re prepared to use their massive buying power to stay ahead of a game they may have gotten to just a few minutes late.

Whether you’re excited about these stories or are tired of hearing about how your driving skills may be obsolete in the future, there’s a lot to be said about keeping up with today’s trends. For now, consider taking a defensive driving course to increase your safety on the road, and to potentially lower your auto insurance bill. Defensive driving classes can help you understand how to use technology to your advantage, and keep you from being overly reliant on technology as well.

Back in 2012, Google managed to successfully lobby the state of Nevada to allow driverless cars to take to the roads.  Ever since, we’ve watched in wonder as the Google car successfully navigated more than a million miles, all by itself.


This image provided by Google shows a very early version of Google’s prototype self-driving car. The two-seater won’t be sold publicly, but Google on Tuesday, May 27, 2014 said it hopes by this time next year, 100 prototypes will be on public roads. (AP Photo/Google)

Credit: flickr.com

It’s all been made possible by recent advances in artificial intelligence. It was once thought that making a driverless car would be impossible because it is not possible to program a computer to deal with every possible eventuality on the road.

But now the science of artificial intelligence has moved on substantially. Robots now have the capacity to learn without having to be preprogrammed. Instead, they learn a bit like you and I. Just like us a computer can now receive information from the physical world and interpret in a useful way. In a way, it can really “see.”

Google call this technology deep learning. It’s what allowed IBM’s computer Watson to beat the best players in the world at Jeopardy! back in 2011. And it’s what’s allowing the Google car to navigate the roads of Nevada today.

Each time the car goes out, it builds up a bigger picture of how the road works. Being a computer, it’s then able to remember millions of specific patterns out there in the real world. Nobody programmed all those patterns into the car. It just learned, like we do, that patterns can be generalized.

For us, this is a piece of cake. For computers, this is a quantum leap. It means that they can predict when dangers might be about the arise on the road and take the necessary action to prevent them from happening.

It’s essential we use this technology given the sheer number of car accidents on our roads. In America alone some fifty thousand people die each year, and hundreds of thousands of others are injured.

Then, consider the knock-on effects of all that carnage. Millions of dollars of investment in people, wasted. Billions of dollars of insurance paid out just to replace car wrecks. Thousands of businesses disrupted by unforeseen rises in their insurance premiums.


Credit: flickr.com

The autonomous car has the potential to solve these problems, and it’s all based on one of the highest technologies out there. Companies like Tesla are already selling consumer cars with some elements of autonomy. Tesla’s model S, for example, will drive you down the highway without you having to lift a finger.

We’re not quite at the stage where the cars can do it all themselves, though. Manufacturers still have to figure out how to make the cars work when it’s dark and when roads don’t have sidelines. But the road testing that’s been done so far is promising, and the number of naysayers is dwindling.

It’s quite incredible that 10 years ago the idea that we might have the first fully autonomous car by 2020 was far-fetched. Now, though, it seems like a certainty. The technology is virtually proven. All that it needs is one final push and we can finally rid ourselves of the endless carnage on our roads.